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Processed Pizza Cheeses (wikipedia.org)
14 points by cheese_goddess 5 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

I blame the evolution of pizza cheese for killing my love of pizza. Until about 1990, Dominos Pizza was a taste to die for, partly due to a flavorful sauce that wasn't too sweet or acidic, but mostly due to a brilliant mix of cheeses that weren't too oily yet left me intoxicated with gustatory delight. I loved it so much that at one point, I dined at Dominos every day for a week straight. (And since they didn't deliver to my neighborhood, I drove to the closest shop and ate in my car. In a Maryland winter.)

Presumably unsatisfied with market share or cost, in about 1990 the beancounters at Dominos decided to rejigger the cheese unto blandness while deliberately poisoning the sauce; their pizza became, in a word, vile. I suspect the new formula saved the company 50 cents per pizza, but it lost me as a customer for 20 years. The sauce formula changed again around 2005 (IIRC) to cause less projectile vomiting IMHO, but their mix of cheese never recovered. Today's Dominos Pizza is but a winsome shadow of what it was in those great early days when the company grew without bounds and the brand was almost eponymous with their one and only product, pizza.

Today, while pizza cheese is widely dissed for its pedestrian lack of flavor and oversmoothed texture, once upon a time, it was something much much more.

This is the same thing that happens to so many companies, and I blame Wall Street, and the growth at all costs mentality. We all know rationally that continuous growth is impossible, yet its what wallstreet and bean counters demand. Cadburys chocolate, used to be lovely, yet now its been cheapened. I'd love to see how much the new formula saves, and I'd bet it's not huge, but I buy a lot less because of it. Nett loss long term, but short term gain for a few quarters I'm sure. Why isn't being profitable, and sustainable behaviour rewarded? It's because volatility drives wall street, so they force companies to act for short term gains and effectively, irrationally.

Cadbury’s chocolate used to be a British company (having started in the Bourneville area of Birmingham in the UK) but was taken over in 2010 by Kraft, the American makers of spray-on cheese from a deodorant bottle.

The problem is that American chocolate is something of the worst in the world, and so there’s no doubt that the (cocoa) bean counters negatively affected the Cadbury brand and taste in order to shave off a few cents.


Typical formulation for Analogue Pizza Cheese, from Fundamentals of Cheese Science:

  Ingredient               Level added (g/100g Blend)
  Casein and caseinates    23.00 
  Vegetable oil            25.00   
  startch                  2.00    
  Emulsifying salts        2.00    
  Flavour                  2.00    
  Flavour enhancer         2.00    
  Acid regulator           0.40
  Color                    0.04
  Preservative             0.10
  Water                    38.50
  Condensate^              7.00
^ Upon cooking the blend to about 85°C using direct steam injection, condensate equivalent to about 7.0 g is absorbed by the blend.

There is a different but similar product, processed cheese, that is actually made with cheese and various additives to manipulate its taste, texture, rheological characteristics etc. The difference with APC is that APC does not include cheese (but as the table above shows, it does include caseins).

[Note that the numbers above add to 102.04 so there may be a mistake, or the numbers are only estimates. Also note I have an old edition of the book. Numbers and ingredients may well have changed more recently.]

Amazing. I wonder what's the worst, cheapest or simplest thing we could gorge on if we embraced MSG the way Asia does?

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